Two Ways to Color Your World

By Lauren Simonds | Posted June 28, 2005

Whether your small business involves high-volume color printing or focuses on small-quantity, high-quality color reproduction, Xerox wants its printers to be at the top of your I-gotta-get-it list. To that end, and as part of a larger 24-product announcement, Xerox today announced two new color printers specifically aimed at small-and-medium business owners: the Phaser 6300 series and the Phaser 8500 series.

Color Categories
The new printers fall into two different categories: color-laser and solid-ink. The two technologies have distinct characteristics that make them better suited for particular printing situations. David Bates, Xerox's director of product marketing, said, "The wider differentiation within our products gives our customers a bigger range of choice at more price points."

Most people are more familiar with color lasers — where color is applied to each sheet of paper in four passes over a toner drum, one pass each for black, cyan, magenta and yellow toner. Color laser printers are best-suited for companies that require color and deal with high-volume printing. "Lasers print faster, so if you need speed to handle a heavy print load, then color laser is your best bet," said Bates. "The Phaser 6300 and 6350 were designed to let SMBs create great-looking color documents at an affordable price."


Solid, Baby — Xerox's Phaser 8550 uses solid ink to lay down vibrant color for high-quality color reproduction.

Basic Color Laser Specs and Pricing

  • The Phaser 6300: Network ready; Prints up to 26 pages-per-minute (ppm) in color and 36 ppm in black and white; Pricing starts at $1,299.
  • The Phaser 6350: Network ready; Prints up to 36 ppm in color; 800MHz processor and up to 512MB memory; Pricing starts at $1,700.

Xerox built the Phaser 8500 and 8550 printers around its own proprietary solid ink technology, and Bates said they're designed for SMBs looking for high-quality color printing capability. The ink is actually solid blocks of pigment, with unique shapes to help distinguish the colors and to make loading them into the printer foolproof.

Solid-ink printers lay down ink in a manner similar to that of an inkjet printer, in that the paper doesn't have to run through the printer four times as it does with a laser. "The color quality is very good on both on laser and solid-ink," said Bates. "Solid ink produces a more vibrant color, while laser is better with face detail and fine line detail. That said, if color is more crucial to your business, use a solid-ink printer."

Basic Solid Ink Specs and Pricing

  • The Phaser 8500: Network ready; Prints up to 24 ppm in color and black and white; Pricing starts at $899.
  • The Phaser 8550: Network ready; Prints up to 30 ppm in color and black and white; 600MHz processor; first-page out time less than five-seconds. Pricing starts at $1,299.

One other thing to note about color laser — it's a fairly complex technology, and you tend to see more variations in color on laser printouts (especially when large areas of solid color are involved). If you need only 10 pages but the color needs to be identical, a solid ink printer makes the better choice. If you need 100 pages with good-quality color, laser will do the job.


Laser Blast — Promising up to 36 color pages-per-minute, Xerox's Phaser 6350 shouldn't leave you waiting long.

Bates said that simplicity is in style, and that Xerox has taken steps to simplify both products. "People want fewer complications," he said, "and solid-ink is easier to live with than laser. If your business is already complicated enough, and you don't want your printer to add to that, solid ink is the way to go."

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com

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